“Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” Matthew 13:8 NIV
It's not easy to be good soil. I can more easily identify with the weedy soil because even the times when I am trying to be really good soil and be open and ready, all those cares of the world keep popping up. Just like when you are weeding your garden and you weed and weed and you weed and you turn around and POP, there's another weed waiting to be pulled. I feel like it's the same way with our lives. It really is a roller coaster ride of ups and downs.
One of the layers, I think, of Jesus' message in this parable is that we are not always going to be good soil. In different times in our lives, we are going to be the different types of soil. The biggest and most important part is that God is going to be at work cultivating and doing the things that need to be done in order to help us go back toward being good soil. It's not one and done it's up and down and in and out. Now, it's not always fun because in order to become good soil, God has to turn the soil over. While having a rototiller run through your life can be exciting, it's not always that pleasant.
Let me tell you my rototiller story. My rototiller story is my husband’s illness. When we got married nineteen years ago we had a life plan. It included a five year plan, a ten year plan and an eternity plan. But we didn't even make it to five years before he received a diagnosis of Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. That turned everything upside down. We had to start living day to day instead of having this grand plan. I can tell you that none of those plans have come to fruition. We are very different people than we were nineteen years ago. The people who got married on that day really don't even exist. We are who we are now because of everything that has been happening over these years. I think that Jesus has used this time to teach me. But just like my girls in school, I don't understand why I have to learn it. That's what they say about math and history and that's what I feel like about some of the lessons I’ve had to learn. Why do I have to learn it? So I grumble about it; I grumble about the things that we have to do. I get angry about it sometimes. Sometimes I just deny it. Eventually, I have to accept it and I have to learn from it. I have to figure out what is it that God is trying to teach me.
I think that the lesson is that Jesus does not expect me to be perfect. I’m expected to make mistakes so that I can learn. The mistakes that I've made and the lessons that I take from them, those are really the decaying organic matter that really makes the soil and the soul so rich. I have certainly made my share of mistakes and I've learned from them. Like, I will give you one clue. If you take a puff off from your father's cigar when he goes into the bathroom, don't hold it under water to put the smoke out so that he won't notice…because he'll notice that more than he would have the smoke coming from the cigar.
Jesus is always teaching us. When we're open we can even learn from looking at familiar things like reading this familiar parable. Last night when I sat down to reread it again, I saw it in a whole new light. What I noticed was that nowhere in that passage did Jesus say, "I care more about the people who understand my message than about the people who don't understand my message." And no place in that passage did it say, “People who hear my message and get excited but only for a short time are bad and don't deserve my attention and respect." And no place in that passage did I hear him say, "Those who just don't believe are not worth my time." What I got out of that passage, this time, reading it anew, reading it from the heart, was that no matter where we are on life's journey, Jesus is there for us. We're welcome with Jesus and He cares about us no matter what. If we are open and ready, he will work to cultivate the soil so that we can become good soil.Read more at: www.refreshinghope.org